The Impact of WBLS in Hip-Hop

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From 1974 to the present, WBLS has been the top radio voice for hip-hop. We’ve launched countless careers, and our programming and talent continues to define the industry. History and culture have been cornerstones of our community. Legendary DJs and radio talent, such as DJ Red Alert, Chuck Chillout, Fred “Bugsy” Buggs, and Marley Marl, have helped bring hip hop throughout the nation and much of the world, a role WBLS continues to play today.

Beginning in 1982, WBLS on-air talents Mr. Magic and Marley Marl launched Rap Attack, making the first ever pure hip-hop show go mainstream. Co-produced by Tyron “Fly Ty” Williams, the show originally aired on WHBI-FM (105.9) until the three powerhouse talents, better known as the “Supreme Team,” were offered hosting jobs at WBLS. After program director and late legend Frankie Crocker hired them, the team was determined to exceed his expectations. 

As the Supreme Team brainstormed ways to reach the community, they discovered one strategy that would forever change the industry: spinning tracks by unsigned artists to obtain exclusives. Fly Ty described their chemistry this way: “Magic was playing Dougie Fresh, The Fearless 4, Crash Crew and The Treacherous 3 before they had deals… Kids were going to the record stores asking for records that didn’t exist. They heard them on The Rap Attack. Many record deals were made that way. The labels were coming to us.” And thus, WBLS made music history by having the first all-rap radio show go mainstream, forever changing the industry.